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Remembering The Northeast Blackout

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So where were you when the 2003 blackout happened? You know the one that left all of New York City with no power, as well as other states and parts of Canada? Oh yeah that one, the one that came with no warning, no signs, and no answers for some time. 13 years ago, the Northeast blackout occurred.

On August 14th 2003, an unexpected blackout left 50 million people without power, and not being able to continue their everyday routine or plans. It became the largest power outage in the country ever. With New York City affected the worst, it became a nightmare to millions. With trains not running, planes grounded, and air conditioners not working, it became almost unbearable to some. The blackout went from New Jersey all the way to Toronto.

For New York City, thousands were forced to cross the bridges in the summer heat. With bridges crowded, it became a chaotic commute home. The blackout affected buses as well. 21 power plants shut down in several cities such as Newark, Detroit, and Cleveland. At 4:11 P.M. the lights went out in New York City, leaving the city with a starry night rather than the everyday city lights. Thousands of pictures were taken at the cities silhouette at dusk.

Former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said power would be restored the following day, but that the subway would start running later on in the day. It was ruled out as a terrorist attack right away, and looting was very low, as overall the crowd was calm, rather than the 1977 blackout in which there were riots and looting. The cause was not clear, although the Canadians blamed lightning that hit a power plant on the border of Canada and the United States.

Still scarred by September 11th attacks, Bloomberg urged all to not be scarred by the blackout and to rule out the fact that this was another attack. Many landmarks were protected by extra NYPD officers, and it was only a matter of time before the nation was able to get back on its feet. President Bush warned that it may take some time before all went back to normal.

As Bloomberg said “With a lot of luck, later on this evening, we will look back on this and say, ‘Where were you when the lights went out?'”. Now we can look back and answer that question. So where were you when the lights went out?


Featured Image via Wikimedia

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